HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– This past year, we have seen high-profile police shootings, Black Lives Matter protests, and calls to defund the police. You might think that would leave young people thinking twice about a career in law enforcement, but not the people we met at this police recruitment drive.
Police departments from four of Connecticut’s largest cities are looking for recruits.
“You have to be a people person, for sure,” explained Lt. Marisol Rodriguez-Velez, of the Hartford Police Department. “You have to be community oriented, have good communication skills, be honest, trustworthy.”
That’s the recruiting pitch, and Thursday it is coming in an appropriate place: Dunkin Donuts Park, home of the Yard Goats. Some who showed up did not need much convincing.
“I’ve always been wanting to be a cop and help out my community,” said Angel Velez, who lives in Hartford’s troubled North End.
“I’ve always wanted to work with law enforcement and be a part of our community, and then also to show my children that they can accomplish anything that they put their minds to,” said Enfield resident Eileen Berrios.
Children today are growing up in a world of police shootings and social justice protests on the news every night. Police recruiters say all that is not what is making their jobs harder.
“It’s been down a little bit just due to COVID,” said Lt. Rodriguez-Velez. “People are not able to come out to functions, and there’s a lot of restrictions, as you know.”
For recruits at this event, the issues within law enforcement are why they want to join law enforcement.
“We, as police officers, or future police officers, we make the difference,” Velez said.
“I think now more than ever because we can also have the power to change that view in a lot of people,” Berrios explained. “It’s all about making sure we serve our community.”
If you missed today’s event, but you are interested in a career in law enforcement, don’t worry. Recruiting happens all the time. Just reach out to your local police department either in person or online.